Do the words ‘yoga ashram’ conjure up an image of emaciated yogis barely surviving on a calorie-restricted vegan diet? A long time ago that might have been the case, as traditionally, ashrams were meant to house those who chose to give up worldly pleasures, like excess food, sex, and shopping, in favor of attaining spiritual enlightenment.
But even then, a yoga ashram wasn’t just a place you’d go to renounce your favorite indulgences. While an ashram is certainly a retreat from life’s distractions, it is also a place to learn about your inner workings through self-contemplation and the study of spiritual scriptures.
In my own experience, life at an ashram is not easy. There are often chores, mandatory early morning meditations, and scant meals stripped of everything savory. As tough as it is to get up at 5:30 every morning, scrub toilets, and spend all day reading, meditating, and doing yoga, there is something incredibly divine in the experience.
If traveling afar to spend time at a yoga ashram is neither in your budget, nor works with your schedule, the following tips will help you create the feel of an ashram right in your own home.
Create a library of inspirational and spiritual books
A huge component of spending time at an ashram is self-inquiry and spiritual study. Gather books that inspire deep thought processes and tickle your interest in learning more about the mysteries of life. Designate space in your home to sit and read books of spiritual nature. Take time to simply contemplate your life’s purpose, without distraction.
Unplug the television, radio, and computer
Ashrams are typically built in remote locations, far from the influence of news, drama, and pending work agendas. The reason for this is to maintain a pure heart, void of the negativity we often cling to when we’re attached to the television or our computer.
If getting rid of your television, radio, and computer in your home is not an option, try unplugging them for just a few hours a day and notice if it makes you feel any more at ease with life.
Set up an altar
Ashrams are places of worship, and every place of worship has an altar. At the very least, an altar is a reminder of our vulnerability to a higher power, the force of creation, or simply a tribute to someone, or something we honor.
Your altar can be as small as a shoebox or as tall as a statue. Just make sure and set up your alter in a place free of clutter. Place items of special interest such as a photograph or a small token on or around your altar as a reminder to be humble in the presence of that which you adore.